It’s been four years since revived electric car brand Detroit Electric first announced plans for a Tesla Roadster-esque sports car. The company managed to get the car, called the SP:01, to the pre-production stage in late 2015 but a shortage of funding has kept it from completing all the regulatory hurdles required to start sales.
Fast forward to today and it appears Detroit Electric has been thrown a lifeline in the form of a major investment from Far East Smarter Energy Group. The Chinese company operates in a number of business areas ranging from the supply of power cables and batteries to over-the-counter drugs and other healthcare products.
Detroit Electric and Far East Smarter Energy Group will form a joint venture worth approximately $1.8 billion. The joint venture’s aim is to fund the development and production of a family of electric cars to be sold under the Detroit Electric brand.
Formation of joint venture between Detroit Electric and Far East Smarter Energy Group
Crucially, the joint venture will also support Detroit Electric’s production plans for the SP:01 at the current plant in Leamington Spa in the United Kingdom. Around $370 million will be invested in the U.K. plant over the next four years to establish a new R&D center as well as develop additional models.
Beyond the SP:01, the joint venture plans to launch an electric SUV by late 2018 and a third model, likely a sedan, by 2020. The joint venture is targeting annual production of around 100,000 vehicles once the three models are launched.
“We have been working exceptionally hard over a long period to establish this joint venture and to secure funding for our ambitious new electric vehicle program,” Detroit Electric Chairman and CEO Albert Lam said in a statement. “So I am delighted to be able to announce this new joint venture which represents a significant boost to vehicle manufacturing and the EV industry in Europe and an important new step towards bringing our family of EVs to market.”